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GP Week : Issue 91
TONI Elias became the first Moto2 rider to win three races in the blaring vuvuzela class, after a fine vengeful ride through from eleventh on the first lap extended his championship lead. The Gresini Moriwaki rider, still getting used to an untested last-minute setting change, picked his way through a close midfield pack and then hunted down runaway leaders Andrea Iannone and team-mate Gabor Talmacsi (both Fimmco Speedup FTR). The Hungarian had lost touch by the time Elias closed on pole qualifier Iannone by the 22nd lap. It took Elias just over one more lap to dive under the Italian into the first tight corner, and though Iannone tried to fight back, he was more than three seconds behind at the finish. "I made a bad start and lost a lot of time with other riders -- but when I took my rhythm I made many overtakes and I could catch the leaders. It was hard, but when I was in front I was able to go away," the former MotoGP rider said. Another three seconds away a heart-broken Talmacsi -- riding to defend his sponsorship -- had been caught by the next trio: veteran Robie Rolfo (Italtrans Suter) led Fonsi Nieto (Holiday Gym Moriwaki) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB FTR) over the line by inches. Talmacsi was sixth, only narrowly fending off impressive Australian first-timer Damian Cudlin, substituting for the injured Axel Pons on the Tenerife Pons Kalex. Only five riders were involved in the predicted first- corner crash, which happened near the back and took out de Rosa, Olive, Pesek, Faubel and Cardus. Championship contenders Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Suter) and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Honda) both crashed out, Simon while battling up front. It was the same for Simone Corsi (JIR Moto2 Motobi), who was on Elias's back wheel at the time. Other notables to fall were Takahashi (Tech 3), fast- at-home Arne Tode (Team Germany Suter), Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello FTR), Sergio Gadea (Tenerife Pons Kalex) and Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar Suter). It was a big points boost for Elias, now on 136 to Luthi on 94. Iannone has 90, Simon 77 and Shoya Tomizawa 76. Elias takes win number three MARC Marquez is beginning to look unstoppable, after the 17-year-old claimed a fifth successive win in a race of variety, miles ahead on a track with some damp patches at the start. German rider Jonas Folger (Ongetta Aprilia) took off for a big early lead -- gaining two seconds on the first lap, followed by countryman Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda), the pair pulling away rapidly to the delight of the crowd. Folger had almost three seconds over Schrotter after four laps, and Schrotter was almost four ahead of the pursuit, now led by Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar Aprilia). But they were on treaded tyres, and the rest had been assessing conditions for their slicks. With the track drying, things now started to change rapidly. Just three laps later the two main Spaniards had come through to the front, with Marquez (Red Bull Derbi) and Pol Espargaro (Tuenti Derbi) themselves already three seconds clear. They jousted over the next laps, sharing the lead, neither able to escape. There were just three to go when the issue was dramatically resolved. Espargaro was ahead when he ran wide out of the second-last corner, touched the grass, and was thrown violently. Marquez, right behind, was very lucky not to be brought down ... but as Espargaro staggered to his bike to try to restart the teenager cruised home to a classic win, by 17.5 seconds. "I took the first part step by step, never push a lot, but then Espargaro followed me, and I was very very close to crashing many times," he said. The distant battle for an eventual second raged to the finish, with Tomoyoshi Koyama (Team Germany Aprilia) involved all the way, and prevailing at the finish. Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Derbi) regained second on the last corner, consigning Esteve Rabat (Blusens Aprilia) to a disconsolate fourth. Smith lost touch at the end for fifth; sixth-placed Johann Zarco (San Marino Aprilia) was almost half-a-minute behind. Randy Krummenacher (Stipa Molenaar Aprilia) crashed out of a strong place in this group with three laps to go. Marquez extended his lead over Espargaro, 157 points to 131. Terol, absent injured, has 118, with Smith closing on 105, and Koyama fifth on 77. 125 Moto2 The march of Marquez 34